Black Desert Online

Calpheon Journal: the Life of a Trader

We’re coming up on a month into the North American/European launch of Black Desert Online, and by now probably most of us are starting to settle into what we want to do. That’s part of the charm of the game, of course – I know some players who haven’t stopped exploring, others who have become horse-breeding masters, and even some who rushed to 50 and are now engaging in epic battles with other guilds.

As for me, I’ve barely leveled at all in the past week or so, preferring instead to focus on life skills. My particular love is trading, and it’s something that I’ve often wished I could do in other MMOs. I’ve experienced a lot first-hand and read quite a bit about this skill recently, so if you too are interested in the open road and safe passage of goods, grab your donkey and let’s talk trading!

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So What Is Trading in Black Desert Online?

For those who haven’t tried it yet, the trading life skill is simply making money by moving goods from one location to another. You can carry a trade pack, load them up on your donkey, or ideally have a large horse-drawn wagon that’s stuffed with items. All major cities have a Trade Master where you can buy and sell goods, and at some smaller farms and outposts the Node Manager will double as a Trade Master.

You don’t have to just buy and sell pre-created trade packs. Trade Masters will also buy your fish, and just about any other craftable goods. If you’ve been focusing on other things that involve processing or gathering, you’ve probably already added some small aspect of trading into your routine.

Unlike ArcheAge, trading packs do not “exist” outside of your inventory. This is sort of nice because it means you won’t be mugged by your fellow players for your stuff, but I also miss the immersion of a literal pack of goods.

Of course, there’s more to trading than just going from Point A to Point B. You get a bonus to your selling price the further away you travel from the buying point, and you can also play the trading mini-game to try and bargain for higher prices. You absolutely must have invested in all of the nodes between your two trade points, or you’ll only get 30% of the good price.

You can also lose or damage your goods in transit. Look out for the red bandit marker on your map when setting your route, and try to run around them. Also, if you carelessly run your wagon off the trail and into the woods you’ll likely damage its contents and lose one or more packs. (I learned this the hard way when I ran my wagon into a mountainside… Ooopsie.)

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How Do I Get Started?

Despite the name, trading is not a huge money-maker, at least not initially. That doesn’t mean that you won’t make any money at it, though!

One of the major issues with trading profits is that the North American/European implementation of Black Desert Online has an energy cost for processing goods, which limits how much stuff you can actually make yourself and then cart to a distant Trade Master. There’s already been a lot of push back from players about this issue, and hopefully it changes in the future.

In the meantime, though, the best way to start trading is to make short runs to raise your skill level. Do any quests provided by the Trade Master, and otherwise look for goods that you can purchase that are about 90% of their usual price. You can use an energy point to see where the highest buying price is located, but don’t worry about running too far. Selling a good for 120% of its price is pretty outstanding at this stage.

At low levels you can only buy fairly inexpensive goods, so the key is volume: get yourself the biggest wagon you can manage and do frequent short runs between towns.

Black Desert Online

How Do I Make Money?

As with everything else in Black Desert Online, the key to profit is leveling up your skill. As your skill improves, so will the goods you can buy, and your profit per item will increase accordingly.

One of the reasons you want to be ready to fill up your large wagon with high-priced items is that occasionally a city will have a “trading blitz”, where the Trade Master is buying everything for 200% of its regular price! Use an energy point to regularly check the market prices, and be ready to head off if you happen to spot a blitz in action.

Additionally, higher level traders can do business with the Black Rat League, a group of illegal traders. These trades are rare, but extremely profitable.

Blitzes and Black Markets aside, the real profit in trading is likely finding a niche in a particular low-energy processed item. I would tell you what I’m running to make my silvers, but it’s a trade secret.

Old Traders’ Tales

Black Desert Online is still a relatively new game in this market, and it doesn’t come with a lot of instructions. As a result, players can sometimes think that the game’s mechanics work one way when they actually do something entirely different.

For example, in my experience investing in a node beyond the initial point does not affect the buying nor the selling price of an item. It does increase the harvest that your workers in the area will gather, though.

Also, consuming an item to gain knowledge about it doesn’t affect the price at all either way.

All in all, trading is not the life skill to focus on if you’re looking for maximum profit or efficient gaming, although it fits nicely alongside horse breeding and processing. However, if like me you enjoy getting out into the virtual world, roaming from town to town, and making a not-insignificant amount of coin on the side, then it’s definitely worth leveling your skills and joining the team!

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